Violin student wins international piano competition

Violin student wins international piano competition


norman lebrecht

June 04, 2018

Results of the Alaska International Piano-e-Competition 2018:
FIRST PRIZE – KaJeng Wong, Hong Kong
SECOND PRIZE – Timur Mustakimov, Russia
THIRD PRIZE – Su Yeon Kim, South Korea

Between the ages of 13 and 15, we read, KaJeng Wong gave up the piano and registered at the Curtis Institute as a violin student.

His c.v. doesn’t explain why he went back to the piano, but violinists might have a hunch…


  • CYM says:

    Why not keeping playing both instruments ? That’s what Julia Fischer did, when she performed the 3rd St Saens violin concerto, AND Grieg piano concerto on the same concert … (both played marvelously). Check on YouTube !,

  • KaJeng Wong says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    Imagine my surprise to be mentioned, after years of being a silent observer! Thank you for covering news, but I must reveal myself to clarify: I am no longer a violinist!

    Started piano at 7 and the violin at 10, I did bring the violin over to Philadelphia for an audition at the prodigy school age 14, but rightfully denied an acceptance. Returned at the piano and later graduated at Indiana University Bloomington with Prof. Naoumoff. Now living in HK, directing a music festival under Music Lab. Occasionally travelling for competitions recently, grateful to meet other talented pianists and great minds 🙂

    Having played the violin for years in orchestras and quartets does give me a deeper understanding of a Chamber relationship with other instrumentalists. Maybe that’s why I was fortunately awarded the chamber prize as well. But it would be blasphemy if I name myself a violin student anymore! Any conservatory violinist would have greater bow control than I do now 🙂

    Cannot wait to return for more performances in the states. It was a true privilege to have participated at the Alaska International E-Competition. For a change, I am heading to Leipzig Bach in July now!

    Thank you!

    KaJeng Wong

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I know a number of splendid string players who are also excellent (although perhaps not solo concert level) pianists.

    The great virtuoso Harold Bauer was said to be equally adept at both the violin and the piano, although he recorded only on the piano to my knowledge. Rostropovich was said to rattle off some of the most difficult passages in Rachmaninoff #3 during master classes, perhaps to keep everyone humble. Awadagin Pratt got conservatory degrees in both violin and piano (plus conducting), but it is true I am not aware of any public performances on violin. Heifetz was said to amaze concert pianists with the difficult passages of the piano solo repertoire he could play at a moment’s notice. Kreisler was also said to play the piano at concert pianist levels. A member of the Milwaukee Symphony’s cello section, whose name I regret to say I forget, used to play the Rachmaninoff Concerto #1 with that orchestra on tour. Arthur Grumiaux recorded some sonatas (overdubbed of course) playing both violin and piano parts; there was also a recording years ago by an artist whose name I forget who recorded an overdubbed version of the Brahms Horn Trio (!) playing all three parts. Veteran record collectors might recall the Philarte Quartet, all members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, whose violinist Davyd Booth also played piano, effectively increasing their repertoire to include not just string quartets but piano quartets. Booth studied violin under Jascha Brodsky and piano with Susan Starr — those are good credentials. I believe he is still active.

    Wasn’t Paul Himdemith able to play the solo parts of all his “Kammermusik” concertos -violin, viola, viola d’amore, piano, cello, and organ? I seem to recall reading that.

    And of course, there was one W.A. Mozart …

    • Michael Comins says:

      The Brahms Horn Trio recording was done by Fred Vogelgesang. @Curtis he accompanied violinists on piano and played violin in the Philly Orch. He then played 4th horn and was ass’t conductor in the then Denver Symphony before joining the NY Phil playing violin. His last job was as a violinist in the NYC Opera while freelancing in local orchestras.

  • violin accordion says:

    Oleg pokhanovski. CDs of both violin and piano. Own transcriptions OF transcriptions and own compositions